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Jenny Macklin (Facebook/Jenny Macklin)

A permanent statutory committee to advise the Albanese Government on ways to assist struggling Australians is set to happen, but independent ACT Senator David Pocock wants it to be strengthened while the Opposition has slammed it as “pointless”. Source: Canberra Times.

A parliamentary committee last week tabled its report into the creation of an independent Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee (EIAC), a body which came from industrial relations negotiations between Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Senator Pocock.

The expert committee, led by former Labor minister Jenny Macklin, is set up to advise the Government ahead of every federal budget on ways to boost economic inclusion and tackle disadvantage, such as the adequacy of Australia’s income safety net.

Committee members are academic experts, economists, representatives from advocacy organisations, unions, business sectors, and people who support economically disadvantaged people.

Earlier this year the committee urged the Government to substantially lift JobSeeker payments as they were “seriously inadequate”. The Government did not follow that advice and anti-poverty campaigners later described the Government’s budget measure of an extra $40 a fortnight as “insulting” and “embarrassing”.

The Labor majority committee, the Senate standing committee on community affairs, put forward the one recommendation that the bill to establish a permanent committee be passed.

Senator Pocock asked for an extra 12 recommendations to strengthen the committee, including requiring ministers to formally respond to the committee’s recommendations within three months.

Coalition senators issued a dissenting report describing the committee as “pointless”, would not achieve its goals, and its key recommendations “will likely be ignored, as was the case for the interim committee’s main recommendation last year”. They urged the bill not be passed.


Poverty and welfare advisory body to stay, but is it enough? (By Karen Barlow, Canberra Times)